In our mineral encyclopaedia, you can learn what minerals actually are and why they are so important for our health.
Clicking in the user menu at the left will guide you to the mineral of your interest.  You would like to know where the sought-after mineral is needed in our body, what amount of this mineral we need and what food is particularly rich in this mineral?  Then our mineral encyclopaedia is the right place for you to be in. 

Definition: What are minerals?

Minerals are:

  • inorganic chemical compounds 
  • nutrients
  • necessary for life
  • not capable of being produced by our body and
  • must therefore be continually supplied through food.

Mineral or Trace Element?

The question is actually not entirely properly formulated because trace elements are a part of minerals.  If more than 50 mg of a mineral are contained per kg of body weight, we speak of quantity elements.  If the content is under 50 mg per kg of body weight, we are dealing with trace elements.  With this in consideration, the classification in minerals and trace elements frequently identified is actually not completely appropriate.  However, based on its broad dissemination through popular science precisely with respect to dietary supplements, we will adhere to this generally common linguistic usage on our website, which is primarily intended to serve health education.

Minerals Perform Vital Tasks

Minerals are real global players in our body:  As a nutrient, the mineral calcium provides for strong bones and teeth.  Magnesium is also indispensible for our bones and without the minerals sodium and potassium our water balance would go completely out of control.  Whether when generating energy or transferring stimuli across the nerves, minerals play a role everywhere.  Nothing would function without them.  It is equally essential to pay attention to a sufficient supply of minerals through a diet rich in minerals.

Minerals in Our Diet

Whole-grain products, fruit and vegetables normally contain several minerals.  How many minerals our food actually contains depends on:

  • the type of food
  • the ground, in which it was planted and grown (particularly its mineral content)
  • the preparation of the food.

In contrast to vitamins, minerals are insensitive to temperature and are therefore not eliminated when cooking.  However, they can be lost with the cooking water if this is poured out.  Healthy plants can also only withdraw scarcely sufficient minerals from leached soil.  Fruits and vegetables may by deficient of minerals as well if they are planted in leached soil.  Dietary supplements as a mineral source in addition to a balanced, healthy diet are also worth consideration.

Minerals in Dietary Supplements

According to the NemV (Ordinance Governing Food Supplements), only the following quantity elements may be contained in dietary supplements:

  • Calcium
  • Chlorine
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus

Moreover, the NemV regulates in which compounds these minerals may be used in dietary supplements.

Possible Reasons for a Lack of Minerals

Without sufficient minerals, our health suffers.  A lack of minerals can cause, e.g. osteoporosis or disorders in the water balance.  Possible causes for such a lack of minerals are: 

  • an unbalanced diet
  • regional conditions (mineral content  of ground and drinking water)
  • excessive loss of minerals (e.g. with diarrhoea, severe perspiration) 
  • metabolic disorders (e.g. disorders in the absorption of minerals).

A visit to the physician can clarify whether or not there is a lack of minerals and what the cause for that is.